Saturday, February 24, 2007

MTUC backs Fong on migrant workers (NST)

MTUC backs Fong on migrant workers

Saturday, 24 February 2007, 09:15am

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress is worried about the Home Affairs Ministry’s proposal to take full charge of the millions of migrant workers in the country.

Its secretary-general G. Rajasekaran said the matter should come under the purview of the Human Resources Ministry.

He said the MTUC received hundreds of complaints every month relating to non-payment of wages, breach of contract in paying less than the contracted wages and violation of the provisions of the Employment Act relating to overtime, working hours, paid sick leave, annual leave and public holidays.

"All these issues come under the purview of the Labour Department under the Human Resources Ministry," he said.

He said it also received cases of workers terminated after being deprived of their wages for up to a year.

"The employers then notify the Immigration department, who promptly cancel the workers’ work permit and declare them illegals.

"Immigration officers turn a deaf year to workers’ complaints of wages owed to them," he added.

He said the MTUC felt that the Human Resources Ministry should have a greater say in the matter like verifying employers’ application and their needs.

"We believe the Human Resources Ministry has reliable statistics on manpower needs and availability of Malaysian workers.

"This is essential to ensure that the government does not flood the country with migrant workers while Malaysians are sidelined," Rajasekaran said.

He said there were also contradictory conditions imposed by the Home Affairs Ministry.

"The Human Resources Ministry has repeatedly stated that migrant workers be allowed to join trade unions whereas the Home Affairs Ministry continues to ban migrants from joining unions as a condition of the work permit," Rajasekaran said.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn has come out strongly against a Bill proposed by the Home Affairs Ministry.

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